SUMMIT BOUND: Gearing up for hiking Mount Kilimanjaro are Peter and Jarrod Pappalardo, Jim McCullough and Russ Holland.
SUMMIT BOUND: Gearing up for hiking Mount Kilimanjaro are Peter and Jarrod Pappalardo, Jim McCullough and Russ Holland. David Barwell

Fundraiser aims to reach record heights

IN FIVE days, nine Coffs Coast locals will pack their bags with their sights set on reaching the peak of Africa's tallest mountain - and it's all for a worthy cause.

Russ Holland, of the Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service, will lead the small but determined crew to the 5895m summit of Mount Kilimanjaro to raise funds for the life-saving service.

The team includes four young people, three dads and Russ' co-expedition leader, Kirsten Howton.

"We've been training hard for six months and none of the crew have done anything like this before, so it's been a bit of an eye-opener," Russ said.

The team will depart for Tanzania on Thursday, and will spend two and a half weeks completing the trek.

Russ, who climbed Kilimanjaro in 2013, said challenging aspects included adapting to climactic zones.

"You start in desert-like conditions and go to -20 degrees at the summit.

"But it's about challenging yourself to give everything you've got... and it's also about doing something for somebody else in that process."

With more than $22,000 already raised, the team are off to a great start.



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